Yesterday we took Jake to children’s A & E at the Royal London. They really are excellent. We were seen immediately, and they rang the surgical registrar, whom we knew and who remembered Jake, to come and see him. It shows how stressed and traumatized we’ve been that both Paul & I immediately thought Jake would have to end up with a stoma for the rest of his life. Neither one of us thought maybe they’d give him an enema, and prescribe laxatives for him. Which is what they did. The enema worked immediately and when we got home, Jake was a lot happier and slept for three hours straight. The registrar said it’s possible that this problem could have been triggered by the virus he’s got. He has been ill for over two weeks now, so it is possible. But no one can say for sure. All we can do is wait and see if the laxatives help. Then wait and see if Jake goes back to pooing normally without them.
In view of all this waiting and seeing, and not being able to let him go back to nursery this week anyway because he still has chicken pox, and not being happy with letting him go back to nursery three days a week while he's still not totally well, I asked work to extend my sabbatical. I also offered to resign if they thought it would be best for the department. Being the wonderfully accommodating and understanding employers they are, they will probably allow me to extend my sabbatical for a further 6 months. This should give us enough time to see how things will go with Jake.
In the meantime, Paul and I talked about what we’d need to do to ensure that I don’t go insane and so that we are all as happy as we possibly can be as a family. So we agreed to have Jake in nursery two mornings a week. We think he can cope with this, and if he can’t, then we’ll have to rethink things, but this was a huge relief for me. I’ve known for ages that I’ve needed something like this to keep me healthy & happy, but felt unable to ask for it, especially since Paul’s earning all the money and barely gets any time to himself either. But we agreed on that too.
Then I rang the nursery and told them we wanted to change our arrangement from three full days to two mornings, and to my surprise, they agreed without making us pay a month’s fees at three full days in lieu of notice (as is their policy). AND, they also told us we didn’t have to pay for these weeks that Jake’s missed because of illness!!! I can’t tell you what a gift that was. Not just in financial terms, but just that generosity, which is so rare these days. Not to mention some good news for us after all the crap we’ve been through.
It confirms what I was thinking yesterday as I was queuing in Sainsbury’s 10 minutes before closing time. There had been numerous announcements over the tannoy asking customers to go to the tills as the store was closing, and that they were closing their express tills. Everybody accepted this, except for one woman who was so offended by being told a till was closing that she decided to be rude to a checkout person who happened to be nearest to her. She ranted on about how it was bad business to keep customers waiting, yada yada yada.
I have to admit that usually, I would have agreed with her. It doesn’t take much for me to swear and mutter under my breath when the slightest thing inconveniences me during the course of my day, from the windows being too high for me to open (“This house was built for fucking giants!”) to glaring at people who deign to stare at me disapprovingly when Jake cries in his buggy. But something shifted in me yesterday. I don’t know if it was because we’d just spent a couple of hours in hospital, being seen by the kindest, most wonderful staff, or if I’m just going soft in my old age or what. But I allowed myself to see the other point of view. As I listened to the supervisor telling the woman that closing time is 5pm and her staff are not contracted to work beyond those hours, and that there were still 7 other tills open etc etc, I noticed that the checkout person the woman had been rude to was genuinely upset. And that the checkout person in the very long queue I was in was remaining cheerful and calm in the face of it all and it hit me in a way that should be obvious to me at all times that it was ridiculous to get so upset about something like this. Not least because it doesn’t help anyone and just leaves everyone feeling like shit. What is it about us or life or society these days that makes us so prone to moaning and whinging and being offended about the slightest things? Why can’t we see other people as people and be kind and understanding and courteous instead?
Then I read this wonderful post on my friend’s blog and I was ashamed that I hadn’t been living this way already. That is, that things like kindness and wisdom and deep, spiritual happiness are not luxuries that we only "acquire" once we get everything (materialistic) that we "need" first. They are absolute necessities. Not only because I’m a Mum and want to be a good role model for my son, but because it is right. More important than anything else, is the need to be kind – to one another and to ourselves. It shouldn’t be hard to do, and yet, it often is. As someone once said to me, just because other people choose to be rude and thoughtless arseholes, doesn’t mean you have to. I will endeavour to have that (spiritually) tattooed onto my head and heart from now on.